What Is Abutilon: Tips For Flowering Maple Care Outdoors

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What is abutilon? Also known as flowering maple, parlor maple, Chinese lantern or Chinese bellflower, abutilon is an upright, branching plant with leaves that resemble maple leaves; however, abutilon isn’t a maple and is actually a member of the mallow family. This plant is often grown as a houseplant, but can you grow abutilon in the garden too? Read on to learn more.

Flowering Maple Information

Abutilon is a type of warm weather plant that grows in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Although hardiness varies, abutilon is suitable for growing in USDA zones 8 or 9 and above. In cooler climates, it is grown as an annual or an indoor plant.

Size also varies, and abutilon may be a shrubby plant measuring no more than 19 inches (48 cm.) in height, or a tree-like specimen as large as six to 10 feet (2-3 m.).

Most attractive are the blooms, which start out as small lantern-shaped buds that open to large, dangling, cup-shaped flowers in shades of orange or yellow, and sometimes pink, coral, red, ivory, white or bicolor.

How to Grow Abutilon Outdoors

Flowering maple thrives in rich soil, but the plant generally does well in nearly any type of moist, well-drained soil. A site in full sunlight is great, but a location in partial shade is fine too, and may actually be preferable in hot climates.

When it comes to flowering maple care in the garden, it is relatively uninvolved. The plant likes moist soil, but never let abutilon become soggy or waterlogged.

You can feed flowering maple every month during the growing season, or use a very dilute solution every other week.

Cut back branches carefully to shape the plant in early spring or late fall. Otherwise, pinch growing tips regularly to promote full, bushy growth and trim as needed to keep the plant neat.

Flowering maple plants are generally not bothered by pests. If aphids, mites, mealybugs or other common pests are an issue, insecticidal soap spray usually takes care of the problem.

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